Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Scamp Update

{One Month into Scamp Camp}

Restoring the Scamp has been more, um, involved than I expected. I fall asleep thinking about fiberglass repair and the subtleties between 80 grit and 60 grit sandpaper. Which is what happens when you impulse-buy a vintage camper on Craigslist. The learning curve is steep, but we're making progress. I think.

Here she is the day we brought her home exactly one month ago, surrounded by wildflowers and sporting a red bow on her door (it was my birthday), courtesy of my darling huz and team captain of Scamp Camp. Let us revisit her interior, lest we forget the sheer horror/ awesomeness of the all-over treatment in plush carpeting.

The flower-power pillows, tiger cushion and VHS collection will be a goldmine for someone at the Joshua Tree thrift store, where all these items now live. I kept the curtains.

The interior upholstery had been affixed to the insulation foam (called ensolite) with spray glue. Spray glue that is thirty years old. Spray glue that must be painstakingly, maddeningly, removed by hand and sanded off.

This is how we do it: I rip out the remaining fuzz by hand (called rat fur from here on out), then remove as much glue as possible using a paint scraper and my fingers. P. follows behind with the electric sander. Let me be clear: there is nothing enjoyable about this part of the process. Rat fur + glue makes me peevish and hateful. Thank god we are almost done with this step.

Despite the din of the electric sander, the flying particles of glue and the limited space, the Hound of Love seems to enjoy stretching her ladyness out across the disgusting floor. The dogs are way into the Scamp, which, unlike rat fur, is fun. Below, the bare plywood floor stripped of seats, table, and three layers of carpeting. We'll eventually lay down bamboo flooring or some killer retro laminate.

That tiger cushion picture? Same scene below, sans le tigre. A few more hours of sanding and then we'll caulk the seams in the ensolite foam and paint the walls and ceiling with non-toxic water-based acrylic paint.

The counters, seats, and closet needs a gentle but thorough sanding, and then I'll recoat them with melamine paint. Once all that painting is done P. will work on the wiring and water lines, and I'll get to work on making new cabinets and reupholstering the cushions. Any fabric advice? I'm thinking of Scotchgard-treated brushed duck cloth that can bear the wear and tear of dogs but still look modern and clean. The look we're hoping for is less white trash and more updated mid-century modern, desert-studio, Joshua Tree chic. If that's at all possible when it comes to decorating a *trailer* on a tiny budget.


  1. what a lot of work! i would have no idea how to do any of what you're doing. glad the dogs like it. where do you sleep?? i don't see a space big enough for a bed.

  2. Your mutts are probably thinking it's all for them. A way cool doghouse!

  3. Wow look at you guys go ... those carpets would have intimidated me ... somewhat like wallpaper but I can't imagine the glue needed to glue all that carpet. I can't wait to see the final product!!! XO

  4. I seriously cannot believe the progress you've made! And the work you've put into it! I'm tired just looking at it.

    It is going to be amazing. I think Scotchgard treated fabric is probably your best bet. You might want to make the long trip out to a Joann's fabrics and take a look at their upholstery section, because you can sometimes get some really good deals. You can also look at Denver Fabrics (denverfabrics.com) because they sometimes have good deals on indoor/outdoor fabric that wipes clean. BUT you can't feel it in person before buying, so it can be hit or miss.

  5. It will look fabulous no matter what you do, I'm sure. Once all of this sanding is done, it will be more fun, won't it??? Upholstery is fun.

  6. Wandered here from Rachel's blog, and my jaw dropped when I saw a Scamp! My best friends in the world renovated a Scamp last year and spent a year traveling the country. See their Design*Sponge feature here: http://www.designspongeonline.com/2009/09/before-after-the-scamp-trailer.html

    Hope that gives you some inspiration. :) Good luck!

  7. as they say on gossip girl, OMFG! i miss the tiger. kidding. i am so so so excited about this and can't believe this WORK! you and p are my legit heros. and dolly looks so perf on that floor! i love you will you bring the scamp to pop up silverlake?! also i think you should serve ice cream cones out of the window ...


  8. This is sheer awesomeness and it's making me want to buy a trailer REALLY bad. I cannot wait to see how it turns out.

    Now, for a question: what is this melamine paint you speak of? I've never heard of that and I'm totally intrigued.

  9. This is fantastic!! I gasp and rave everytime we pass an airstream (oh just thinking about them). This is going to be so so cool/v. mid century modern/joshua tree chic when you're done!! Can't wait to see the finished product : )

  10. Spotted Dog has the right idea: the Scamp, it's magnificent. Cannot, cannot, cannot wait to see the refurbishment progress. But I must ask-- do you miss the tiger? A bit? Be honest now.


  11. Thanks for all the support! It looks SO turrrrrible right now, so I appreciate the positive attitudes;)

    Rache: I went down to Jo-Ann's and they didn't have enough yardage of what I wanted! Now that I've felt and seen what I want though I think I might indeed try Denver Fabrics. You've never led me astray!

    Stephanie: melamine paint is a really viscous, nasty oil-based paint used for painting, well, melamine counters, among other things. Melamine powder was the secret ingredient in the pet food from China that caused all those cats and dogs to die a few years ago, if you remember. It's a really good paint for super-slippery, smooth surfaces like kitchen counters and Scamp parts, as it turns out.

    Katie: so glad I'm not alone in my appreciation of old-school trailers!

    Beth: Woman, didn't you just get married?! You've got me; sometimes when I'm falling asleep I do -just kinda- miss le tigre.

  12. Hey, we just purchased a scamp and are looking to replace the curtains, any idea where I can find new curtain hardware for a scamp?

    Good luck with the scamp! It's gonna be great!


  13. I just bought new rods for my Scamp at Walmart. The important thing to do with the basic rods is tie them to the attachments as they fall off while traveling..I used little wire ties.
    I went online and found some really unique fabric for curtains. I want to have something that looks good from the outside as well as the inside.
    One question: anyone know what will hold the carpet tighter than spray adhesive? My is sagging from the ceiling.

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